It takes a lot of nerve to call your CD Waiting for Perfection, even when the featured guitarist’s bona fides are as untouchable as they come. Milton Hopkins has played with Little Richard and Sam Cooke, among many others, spent a decade shoring up B.B. King’s licks and just happens to share a bloodline with H-Town blues Buddha Lightnin’ Hopkins (they’re cousins).
With such an ace in the hole, though, it’s puzzling why Hardie and his Myla Hardie Family Band – including Aretha Franklin and Steely Dan alumnus Chuck Rainey on bass, and some very Mickey Raphael-like harmonica from Jon Paris – seem reluctant to let Hopkins unleash the full measure of his talent. Until the very end, Hopkins only gets to showcase his stinging single-note skills on the fanciful blues “I Dreamed I Met Bob Dylan.”
Luckily Hardie, whose own resume includes opening for Buddy Guy and Junior Wells and sitting in with George Harrison and Taj Mahal, is a strong enough songwriter – he wrote everything onPerfection
save a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” (no great shakes) and, well, read on – to rescue the album from lapsing into complete cliché, especially on Louisiana-laced mid-album trilogy “Outskirts of Town,” “Chocolate for Breakfast” and “What’s Wrong With You.”
Then, at the very end, comes the Perfection's true perfection: a cover of Lightnin’s “Mojo Hand” that finally turns his cousin loose, then a priceless Hopkins interview (“The closest I got to Lightnin’ was in San Francisco…”) that gives this three-star album a five-star conclusion. – Chris Gray
8 p.m. tonight, Red Cat Jazz Café, 924 Congress, 713-226-7870. $7 cover includes a copy of Waiting for Perfection.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.